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Member since: Thu Mar 16, 2006, 02:07 PM
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'Dangerous Situation' Reported At Florida State University

Source: Huffingtonpost

Florida State University officials issued an emergency alert on Wednesday night about a "dangerous situation" unfolding on campus.

On the FSU website, students and staff were urged to "seek shelter immediately, away from doors and windows."

HuffPost reached out to the Florida State University Police Department for more information, and was told that a statement would be issued soon. However, police reportedly told the Los Angeles Times that there was a gunman on the Tallahassee campus and the situation was unfolding.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/20/florida-state-university_n_6189810.html

This is a developing situation.

The Christmas Truce

Generally, I am against all things Christmas until after Thanksgiving. This time, however, I am going to ignore that personal rule. Please enjoy.

A Christmas ad for Sainsbury's is taking the internet by storm:

According to Wikipedia:

"The Christmas truce (German: Weihnachtsfrieden; French: Trêve de Noël) was a series of widespread, unofficial ceasefires that took place along the Western Front around Christmas 1914, during World War I. Through the week leading up to Christmas, parties of German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches; on occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposite numbers bearing gifts. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many soldiers from both sides—as well as, to a lesser degree, from French units—independently ventured into "no man's land", where they mingled, exchanging food and souvenirs. As well as joint burial ceremonies, several meetings ended in carol-singing. Troops from both sides were also friendly enough to play games of football with one another, in one of the truce's most enduring images..."

Open Letter to Democrats From a Disillusioned Young Voter

Open Letter to Democrats From a Disillusioned Young Voter
By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News
07 November 14

Dear Democrats,

Are you listening? President Obama says he hears us. He says that people don’t have a reason to show up to vote if the politicians they have to choose from don’t motivate them. He’s partially right. But that’s only part of a much larger problem. To all you would-be elected officials looking for my generation’s support at the polls, listen closely – get populist or get ready to lose bad.

2014’s low voter turnout was historic. Voter turnout actually hasn’t been this low since the 1940s. As Mother Jones pointed out, voter turnout for people under 30 was dismal. In this election, people like me only made up 12 percent of those who voted, while people aged 60 and older made up almost 40 percent of total voters. In 2012, when President Obama was re-elected and Congressional Democrats made gains in the House and Senate, millennials made up almost one-fifth of all voters, and voters 60 and older made up just 25 percent of the electorate, bringing us a little closer to a tie. It isn’t hard to see the difference – this year, Republicans steamrolled you, Democrats, because most of us stayed home and let our Fox-watching uncles and grandparents decide on who was going to represent everyone else.

So how do older people pick who runs Congress? Like every other voting bloc, they pick the ones who run on issues most important to them. And as Vox reported, data consistently shows that younger people want their tax dollars spent on education and job creation. Older voters want their money spent on Social Security and war. The Republicans who swept the U.S. Senate ran largely on fear campaigns over ISIS, promising to be more hawkish than their opponents in an eagerness to pour money and troops into Iraq and Syria to snuff out America’s newest boogeyman.

Contrast the unified Republican message with the profound silence from you Democrats on addressing the trillion-dollar student debt crisis, rampant inequality and underemployment, and your collective fear of openly embracing economic populism, and you cook up what we saw on Tuesday night. Older people showed up, highly motivated to elect war hawks. Younger people mostly stayed home, disillusioned with the only alternative on the ballot who didn’t even talk about the issues affecting our lives every day.

The few of us who did show up to vote largely did it to support state ballot initiatives that actually mattered in our daily lives. We still voted to raise the minimum wage in 4 states to a slightly more respectable amount, and to $15 an hour in San Francisco. We voted for a week of paid sick days in Massachusetts, and for marijuana legalization in three more states (okay, well, DC isn’t a state yet, but it definitely will be by the time we’re grandparents). We voted to turn nonviolent drug offenses from felonies into misdemeanors in California. We even boosted high voter turnout in Michigan for Gary Peters, a Democrat who made climate change – something we’ll have to confront long after the boomers are gone – his top issue. We just didn’t vote for Democrats who haven’t done anything for us since we voted for them in 2012, and who brazenly took our votes for granted this year.

Even though the Republicans have made it clear they won’t raise the minimum wage, legalize marijuana, or address climate change as long as they’re in power, they at least have a unified message that appeals to enough people who share their values. They can also communicate that message in a confident way. The Republican platform comes in easy-to-remember, tweet-sized sentences. We all know their buzzwords – “national security,” “family values,” “free markets.” That may translate to endless war, homophobia, and corporate feudalism for the better-informed, but for most people, those are catch phrases they can get behind.

You Democrats, on the other hand, looked pitiful in the year leading up to the midterms. You didn’t seem to stand for anything in particular, you just pointed the finger at the other guy, told us they were bad, and that you weren’t like them. That’s not enough. Take a risk, be bold. Get behind Elizabeth Warren’s 0.75 percent interest rate for student loans. Allow student debt to be abolished with bankruptcy. Push for single-payer healthcare, or at the very least a public health insurance option. Need some catchy buzzwords? Try “affordable education,” “good jobs,” and “healthy families.”

President Obama hit the nail on the head – we won’t show up and vote for you if you aren’t offering us anything real. If Democrats want to stay relevant, they’ll have to learn to stop taking us for granted and actually make an effort to get our votes. Simply banking on being the lesser evil and having that be enough won’t cut it any longer.

Carl Gibson, 26, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can contact him at carl@rsnorg.org, and follow him on twitter at @uncutCG.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.


It all makes sense now...

****MUST READ**** VANITY FAIR: Are Conservatives Ever Right?

November 6, 2014
30 Years of Conservative Nonsense, An Explainer
If those calls to close the borders over Ebola are giving you déjà vu, you might not be wrong.

By Kurt Eichenwald

Are conservatives ever right?

The question isn’t meant to suggest that liberals are never wrong. But reviewing the last few decades of conservative policy initiatives—or their objections over that timespan to policies they hate—shows a consistent pattern of failure: predictions never pan out, and intended results turn to catastrophic flops.

Given the G.O.P.’s midterm victories this week, the question is of particular import. Come January, conservatives will have control of both houses of Congress, and hold a considerable legislative advantage in the last two years of the Obama presidency. Yet not a week ago, conservative politicians and commentators were screaming out batty ideas as they demanded that President Obama close the borders over Ebola, ignoring the advice of infectious disease specialists who know that shutting borders against a disease leads people to make travel by means that aren’t easily tracked, escalates danger, and harms the ability to stop the infection at its source. Conservative know-nothings dismiss the professionals as know-nothings themselves, despite their training and expertise.

And that could be the problem. Too often, it seems, conservatives have scorned experts as incompetent, biased, or otherwise worth ignoring because they came up with answers that didn’t fit their politically desired answer. Often, they proclaim experts have a liberal bias. Of course, plenty of Democrats have voted for conservative ideas, but that is beside the point. The question is whether policies proposed by conservatives failed, not whether they were passed into law. And this question is all the more important now, with the Republicans having re-captured control of the Senate. Will they govern based on a knowledge of history and the analysis of experts? Or will they resort to faith-based, sure-we’re-right policies—like trying to impose a border ban to stop Ebola—that may lead the ignorant to cheer but will leave turn the experts’ hair white with fear.

Before venturing through the rogues’ gallery of past disasters, an exception that proves the rule: the 1983 decision by the Reagan Administration to deploy missiles in Europe to counter Russian SS-20s was a success, ultimately contributing to the Soviet collapse. But otherwise, there is not a lot in the last three decades to give conservatives bragging rights, and with almost every fiasco, they blame someone else. So let’s look at the record of the last 30-some years:

Tax cuts pay for themselves.

The fantasy: In 1981, as he championed massive tax cuts, President Ronald Reagan promised there would be no growth in the federal budget deficit because the economic boom that would follow would lead to higher revenues.


Toon: The American People Have Spoken

Found on facebook. Can't find the name of the artist.

h/t Octafish - Here's the artist's link: http://jonikcartoons.blogspot.com/ Thanks, Octafish!

Hagan won the exit polls. How did she lose the race?

Exit polls used to be a very precise method to ensure that elections weren't stolen. Not anymore. That stopped when electronic voting was implemented.

This race was stolen.

Borowitz: Majority of Americans Favor Quarantining Wolf Blitzer

October 25, 2014
Poll: Majority of Americans Favor Quarantining Wolf Blitzer
By Andy Borowitz

Credit photograph by Chris Pizzello/invision/AP

WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Borowitz Report) — Amid concerns that the spreading fear of Ebola has become a greater threat than the virus itself, a new poll shows that a majority of Americans favor a quarantine of the CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.

While poll respondents supported quarantining more than a dozen cable-news personalities, including the entire cast of “Fox & Friends,” a full seventy-two per cent gave the nod to a quarantine of Blitzer.

At the Centers for Disease Control, a spokesman said that a Blitzer quarantine was “very much on the table,” and that the C.D.C. had come up with a workable plan.

“Essentially, we would do a lockdown of ‘The Situation Room’ and provide Wolf with food and water until the crisis passes,” he said.


Ending The Walmart Scam

Wed Oct 15, 2014 at 11:30 AM PDT
Ending The Walmart Scam
by Raul Grijalva

Right now, income inequality is the highest it’s been in our society since 1928. A lucky few in America make billions, while millions of others struggle just to get by. Nowhere is this gap more apparent than in the 4,100 plus Walmart stores across the country. Rob Walton and his family have amassed an empire of riches, and they built it on the backs of the working poor. The consequences of such skewed earning potential – where the family on top is worth $150 billion while their employees earn less than $25,000 per year – are significant and unsustainable.

As the nation’s largest employer, with $15 billion in profits annually, Walmart can afford to pay their employees a livable wage. Instead, they choose to manipulate schedules and hours to pay the majority of their workers abysmal wages. Sandra Sok, who works in Phoenix Walmart Store #5331 is a perfect example. After eight years of service to the company, she still struggles for enough work and income to make ends meet. She pleads with management every week for additional shifts because the 30 hours she is usually scheduled for simply aren’t enough. Sandra’s done her part to help Walmart succeed – she deserves more than poverty pay in return.

Many workers like Sandra are forced to rely on food stamps, health care assistance and other taxpayer-funded programs to get by. So while the Walton family alone has as much wealth as 43% of American families combined, the American people still have to pick up the tab for the Walton’s appalling business practices. And it’s not cheap: Walmart is estimated to cost the taxpayers $6.2 billion annually through public assistance costs, with expenses ranging between $3,015 and $5,815 per worker. All the while, Walmart and the Waltons are taking $8 billion a year in tax breaks that subsidize their low-wage business – and add to their profits. It is estimated that the family has avoided paying $3 billion in taxes by using special trusts to dodge estate taxes.

It’s time to end this charade and shut down the Walmart scam. That starts by recognizing that every worker deserves the decency of full-time work. Manipulating schedules to avoid paying employees what they’re due is shameful, demoralizing and wrong. The Schedules That Work Act, which has been introduced in both the House and the Senate, will give workers the right to a stable work schedule without retaliation. We also need to turn the minimum wage into a livable wage. Cities like Seattle, Los Angeles and Baltimore have led the charge in this effort, raising their minimum wage levels as high as $15 per hour. But they are the exception, and we need to make it the norm.

The American Dream is premised on the notion that anyone who works hard here can earn a decent living. Corporations like Walmart have turned that dream into a living nightmare for the men and women they employ, and it’s up to the American people to put a stop to it. As Walmart employees in Phoenix and other major cities across the country protest their conditions this week, we must recommit to ensuring the American Dream remains within reach for everyone willing to work for it.


Georgia deputies raid man's home after mistaking okra plants for marijuana

Seriously? In Georgia?? You boys don't know the difference between okra and Mary Jane? Why, didn't your Mamas ever fry that slimy stuff for you all? My lord!

Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 10:15 AM PDT
Georgia deputies raid man's home after mistaking okra plants for marijuana
by Jen Hayden

Helicopter hovering over Dwayne Perry's backyard attribution: screenshot from video

Once again, from the "not The Onion" files, Georgia deputies went full SWAT to raid Dwayne Perry's home because they thought he was growing marijuana in his backyard. But, no. It was okra:

"I was scared actually, at first, because I didn't know what was happening,” said homeowner Dwayne Perry.

All he noticed was that there was a chopper sitting unusually low over his house, then Bartow County deputies and a K-9 unit appeared at his doorstep in minutes.

"They were strapped to the gills,” Perry said.

Georgia State Patrol says they still haven't identified the mysterious (and enormously popular Southern vegetable):

"We've not been able to identify it as of yet. But it did have quite a number of characteristics that were similar to a cannabis plant,” said Georgia State Patrol Capt. Kermit Stokes.

Dwayne Perry says he's still embarrassed and feels his reputation has been damaged, not to mention being terrified at how quickly something could have gone wrong.

Even if this were one small patch of homegrown marijuana, isn't this type of police response just a wee bit overkill? Especially when 75% of Americans don't even think it should be a jailable offense and 58% think it should be legal outright?

See an interview with Dwayne Perry below the fold.

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